If you’re a first-time boat buyer the choice of boats available for purchase can be bewildering. How do you make sense of all the choices? Well, the first time boat buyer needs to avoid buying on impulse and take a close hard look at how they intend to use the boat. If not, your romance with boating will be short-lived as you quickly realize you have made the wrong choice for you and your family. The wrong choice could be dangerous, financially costly, and at the least uncomfortable.
The first time buyer needs to assess how they are going to use the boat. Will the boat be used by just yourself to aid recreational fishing or sailing or is your boating going to be a family leisure experience? How often do you intend to use the boat? A once in a blue moon trip in the summer months would require a different boat to an avid sailing enthusiast.
A recreational fisherman who likes to fish in different waters will probably only need a small transportable boat. A family looking for a recreational boating experience will probably want a small cruiser with some home comforts such as comfortable seats and a small galley. A boating enthusiast with some prior experience looking for a regular excursion may look for something a little larger than can be moored for safekeeping rather than towed away at the end of each trip.
Planning on overnight trips? You will need something a little larger to sleep on. Larger boats that require mooring will also incur more operating costs so if you choose to go for something larger always check the hidden overheads to ensure your budget will fit the total cost.
Once you have assessed your likely boat use you can then decide on the type of boat you are likely to need. There is a multitude of sizes, shapes, and classes of boats but generally, they fall into one of the several common groups of boat: Fishing boat, sailboat/yacht, motorboat and self-propelled boat.
Fishing boats are generally for inshore use and will have few mod cons for comfort but will have equipment suitable for the boats use. You may choose a boat with storage tanks for your catch or with holders for your rods. A fishing craft will generally have a platform area or deck to carry out your fishing activity.
Sailboats/yachts come in all sizes dependant on your use or experience. They differ from fishing boats in that decks are smaller and they are designed with the sailing activity of the user. Some may have a cabin with a berth, galley, and table whilst a basic inshore day trip sailboat may be as small as a rowboat with no comfort extras.
Motorboats come in all shapes and sizes and can be used for leisurely cruising or water skiing excursions. Large boats will often have a cabin with facilities for sleeping or cooking but a day-tripper can find a small craft with a small deck, towable for use with skis.
Self-propelled boats (rowing boats or pedelos) are ideal for day trip activities where you may not be looking to stray too far off the beaten track. Ideal for gentle rivers, quiet lakes, or inshore trips. Can be hitched behind a car and towed and stored relatively easily.
Once you have decided on how you will use the boat and assessed the correct type of craft for your use be sure to check for the safety equipment you will require, then talk to a dealer, find out about the various brand name boats and costs, then rent the boat of your choice to make sure you are choosing wisely.